July 15, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Three SMC STEM Scholars Chosen for Esteemed Fellowship

The Fellowship Is Administered by a Nonprofit Established in 2016 by Researchers Affiliated With MIT

Florence Larsonneur Amurrio, Melissa De La Cruz, and Micheal Mendizabal, scholars in the fields of Biology/Chemistry, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Applied Mathematics respectively, have been awarded the highly prestigious Station1 Frontiers Fellowship. 

This comprehensive ten-week program focuses on education, research, and internship exposure, with a specific emphasis on science and technology that address societal needs. The fellowship is administered by the nonprofit institution Station1, established in 2016 by researchers affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Following a rigorous selection process involving numerous applications and interviews, these three Santa Monica College STEM majors were chosen for their exceptional promise and accomplishments. The Station1 Frontiers Fellowship not only includes a renowned curriculum centered around science and technology’s socially-driven applications, but also offers an opportunity for a research internship with esteemed partner organizations operating in cutting-edge scientific and technological fields.

Florence Larsonneur Amurrio, majoring in Biology and Chemistry, is undertaking her research internship with GC Therapeutics, a Station1 partner based in Cambridge, MA. The organization specializes in harnessing synthetic biology for innovative cell therapies aimed at addressing previously incurable diseases. Larsonneur Amurrio’s involvement encompasses studying clinical gaps in cell therapy, analyzing patient demographics, market potential for these therapies, and strategic planning for further development.

Melissa De La Cruz, an Electrical and Computer Engineering major, is immersed in a research internship at Altaeros, situated in Somerville, MA. Altaeros, which originated from MIT in 2010, is committed to solving complex infrastructure issues with pioneering aerial platforms. Specifically, De La Cruz’s project focuses on analyzing performance variations across multiple geographical locations of Altaeros’ autonomous aerial platform, the SuperTower.

Micheal Mendizabal, specializing in Applied Mathematics, is engaged in a research internship with Atacama Biomaterials Inc., a biotechnology startup with locations in Boston, MA, and Santiago, Chile. The focus of this research revolves around sustainable cellulose-based materials for pharmaceutical packaging, encompassing digital twin CAD modeling, machine design, advanced manufacturing analysis, and supply chain evaluation.

Reflecting on the fellowship, Florence Larsonneur Amurrio shared, “The Station1 Frontier Fellowship has not only allowed me to connect with incredibly talented peers across disciplines but has also provided a robust foundation for socially-conscious research. My work with GC Therapeutics has been a remarkable experience in strategic disease modeling for novel cell therapies.”

Melissa De La Cruz expressed her gratitude, stating, “My participation in the STEM program at Santa Monica College has opened up multiple avenues, including the remarkable opportunity with Station1. As I conclude my time here, I am equipped with enriched research and professional skills, poised to delve into deep learning and neural network research.”

Micheal Mendizabal commented on the broader implications, saying, “The fellowship has been invaluable in providing practical experience in the realm of mathematics and technology. It propels me closer to my aspiration of working in the dynamic field of technology.”

Station1, the pioneering nonprofit educational entity, has been committed to reshaping learning and research paradigms through a focus on science and technology’s societal impact. This endeavor is aimed at fostering fairness, ethics, justice, and sustainability in technologically-driven societal transformations.

As Station1 fellows, Florence Larsonneur Amurrio, Melissa De La Cruz, and Micheal Mendizabal have secured funding for living expenses and instructional costs. In addition to their research internships in emerging scientific and technological domains, they are benefiting from a shared curriculum concentrated on socially-conscious science and technology. Engaging with a diverse spectrum of instructors, mentors, and researchers, they are gaining not only scientific insights but also leadership and professional skills. This inclusive experience includes a leadership institute and a structured curriculum for professional advancement. As part of the Station1 community beyond the fellowship’s conclusion, they will join a network of exceptional professionals.

In conjunction with Station1, SMC’s STEM students have undertaken internships at various prestigious institutions, including NASA-JPL, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, UCLA’s Undergraduate Research Center, and other reputable entities. Santa Monica College offers an extensive range of STEM fields for study, encompassing biology, chemistry, earth science, computer programming, engineering, and mathematics. To explore SMC’s STEM program further, visit smc.edu/STEM.

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